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Traumatised Tibetan monks offered singing bowl therapy

US healers correct 'life-wind imbalance'

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US healers from The Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) have been looking at ways to treat traumatised Tibetan monks who've fled "violent religious persecution".

The BCRHHR notes that many of these victims arrived in the US suffering from "symptoms of traumatic stress, interfering with their meditative practice". They displayed "anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)", according to the western medical diagnosis.

Their own healers, meanwhile, diagnosed srog-rLung, a "life-wind imbalance" which "has the potential to develop into a serious mental illness, leaving the victim at odds with the balance of the universe as well as jeopardizing his personal health".

Srog-rLung is characterised by "uncontrollable crying, worrying, excessive mental, physical or verbal activity and an unhappy mind".

The challenge, then, was to formulate a treatment plan in which "eastern and western medicine needed to be integrated to properly address both conditions" (PTSD and srog-rLung).

Michael Grodin, MD, professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at Boston University School of Public Health, explained: "This research and treatment involving patients accustomed only to traditional medicine, presented an opportunity for the acceptance of non-traditional therapeutic approaches."

Grodin said that the BCRHHR "integrated techniques of western medicine, such as anti-depressant prescribing and psychotherapy, with Tibetan healing practices, including medicines prescribed by Tibetan Amchi (doctor), meditation advice, Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises".

Also on the agenda for the patients was "singing bowl therapy", described as "a form of music therapy" in which sound forms a "direct connection to the heart, which aligns with srog-rLung experienced by the monks".

The full story can be found online in the March issue of Mental Health, Religion & Culture. ®

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